Life: A festival of health, from head to toe

World-class medics and scientists from the University of Sheffield are opening their laboratory doors to give members of the public the unique opportunity to witness ground-breaking research which is making a difference to people across the world.

A festival of health from head to toeLife Festival is a celebration of the work that the University of Sheffield’s medicine, dentistry and health researchers are doing to improve lives with their leading research into cancer, Parkinson’s, dementia and childhood diseases.

The six-day festival, which runs from 19-24 May 2014 will include free health checks, interactive lab demonstrations and entertaining lectures from world-leading medical experts, including Embarrassing Bodies lead presenter Dr Dawn Harper, on everything from how your heart works to what happens if you don’t get enough sleep.

With more than 45 exciting events, the free festival is guaranteed to be something for all ages.

Susan Bridgeford, Director of Operations for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, said: "This festival gives people across the city the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of some of the remarkable and world leading research which is taking place both here at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

"Our work is about finding cures, improving treatments and improving quality of life. With its origins dating back to 1828, the talented staff and students at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health have been helping to transform lives of people not only in the city of Sheffield but across the world for almost 200 years."

Embarrassing Bodies’ presenter Dr Dawn Harper will be enthralling audiences with a fascinating insight into the medical world and the hit Channel Four series.

Exploring the science of bonesOn Tuesday 20 May visitors to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital will be given the chance to extract DNA from strawberries, test whether bottled water really does taste better than tap water and measure the density of bones during interactive activities during International Clinical Trials Day. The event, which coincides with the Festival, aims to raise awareness of the contribution that clinical trials make to health research and scientific breakthroughs not only in Sheffield but worldwide. This takes place on the O Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, between 1pm and 5pm.

Budding historians can step back in time to 1828 on Thursday 22 May to discover the history of the University’s Medical School. Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations at the University of Sheffield, will be sharing his unique collection of archive photographs and anecdotes about one of the most renowned Medical Schools in the world.

On Saturday 24 May 2014 children are invited to bring their most-loved teddy bear for a full health check-up with one of the University’s Teddy Doctors. The Teddy Hospital will be open from 12pm until 4pm in Barker’s Pool in Sheffield city centre.

Greg Oldfield, Head of Public Engagement with Research at the University of Sheffield said the first Life Festival is guaranteed to interest people of all ages.

“From famous television doctors to explosive experiments, the Life Festival truly does have something for everyone. Throughout our lives each and every one of us will rely on the marvellous people within the medical profession who do their very best to make us better.

“This festival gives people the chance to come and meet some of our world-leading researchers and learn more about the fascinating subject that is the human body.”

Delve into the DNA of strawberriesOther Festival highlights include: Pure white and deadly: is sugar a bigger threat than heroin? where experts will discuss a potential tax on ‘addictive’ sugar and the World Health Organisation advice to half our daily sugar intake, The Science of Bones workshop where visitors will learn about their skeleton and why you should really eat more ice-cream, and Inside the human body: creation, where the audience will get the chance to join fertility expert Dr Allan Pacey and director Nat Sharman for a special screening of a BBC documentary on the incredible story of conception, pregnancy and birth. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

Dr Allan Pacey, from the Department of Human Metabolism, said: "I am really pleased that the BBC have given us special permission to have a screening of one of the episodes of Inside the Human Body, a series I helped make back in 2010.

"We are going to be joined by the BBC film director who made the programme as well as some of the staff from our Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, so the audience will be able to ask questions about some of the science and medicine the film shows, as well as ask the director how a film like this is actually made.

“Most people are interested in their personal health and so I would encourage anyone to come along to the events and find out more. We are really working at the cutting edge of healthcare here in Sheffield and we have a lot of world leading experts on our doorstep."

For the full Life Festival schedule please visit

Additional information

The University of Sheffield's Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health
For more information about the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health at the University of Sheffield visit MDH

The University of Sheffield
With almost 25,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2011 it was named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline and Siemens, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is one of the UK’s largest NHS Foundation Trusts and one of the largest and busiest teaching hospitals. We have over 15,000 staff caring for over a million patients each year at our five hospitals and in the local community:

• The Royal Hallamshire Hospital
• The Northern General Hospital
• Charles Clifford Dental Hospital
• Weston Park Cancer Hospital
• Jessop Wing Maternity Hospital

We offer a full range of local hospital and community health services for people in Sheffield as well as specialist hospital services to patients from further afield in our many specialist centres.
The Trust is recognised internationally for its work in neurosciences, spinal injuries, renal, cancer, transplantation, neurosciences and orthopaedics.

The Trust has been awarded the title of ‘Hospital Trust of the Year’ in the Good Hospital Guide three times in five years and we are proud to be one of the top 20% of NHS Trusts for patient satisfaction.
The Trust is a recognised leader in medical research for bone, cardiac, neurosciences and long term conditions such as diabetes and lung disease. We also play a key role in the training and education of medical, nursing and dental students with our academic partners, including the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam.

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Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859